Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Website and New Blog

We have finally created our own website. Check it out at http://www.daveterpstra.com

Also, the new website contains new blogs, so if you subscribe to our feed, you will need to add/change it. There is an RSS button on my new blog page which is: http://www.daveterpstra.com/daveterpstra.com/Amys_Blog/Amys_Blog.html

Thanks for staying up to speed on what we are doing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

planning for the future

dave and i are at a conference this week outside chicago that is teaching us how to educate our children overseas. in the states you have just a few options when it comes to education: public, private or home. outside the US, the possibilities are more complex: national, international, boarding, american/missionary, private national, british, french, dutch...most of which cost an incredible amount of money. we have to think about which elementary/secondary school will lead to the best option for high school which will ultimately lead to getting into college, probably back in the states. so what we are trying to figure out is what we want our children's' education plan to be through college...in the next two days. once they start school, we will be constantly reevaluating it (ourselves, many times without a conference with the school) to see if it is a good fit.
our children are too little right now for us to know what kind of learner they are!
many missionary kids (MKs) go to boarding school for high school (which is looking like a great option for our kids). we are now looking at how far away we are willing to let our kids be in order for them to get the education we want them to have!
i'm already feeling sad that the kids will probably be leaving home at 15! this is reality! this is our life!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

a heart healed

Last night marked the end of the life that I know and the beginning of a new one: the life of a missionary. Dave shared that 10 years ago, we began coming to TNL. We came broken and beat-up and I was angry, but something kept bringing me back. Dave started to get involved and I still held my distance. I was asked to help organize the children's ministry after the children's pastor was asked to leave, and only agreed after letting the pastors know that I would not help on Tuesday nights and didn't want anyone else in the church to know. I met "secretly" with the children's director when no one was in the office. I kept my distance, went to events but did not participate, attended Tuesday nights but tried not to make friends. This went on for a year.

One day I asked the children's director if I could start a toddler class and became the main teacher of the 2-3 1/2 year old class. I got to know people and they just knew me as "Amy"-most didn't know much more than that. TNL began to go to Crooked Creek and it was there, in a cabin of girls, the massive wall around my heart was broken down. I shared my pain with a group of strangers completely terrified of what would happen next. What happened next was a picture of who TNL is (it is said every week from the front). The girls in my room put their arms around me, cried with me, prayed with me and accepted me just like I was.

I began to see my church in a different way and began to see the people around me as friends. I started looking forward to Tuesday nights and even made plans to sit with friends instead of by myself. I began encouraging Dave to become more involved instead of fighting about it and getting angry when he would come home fired up about TNL and the things God was doing. I began attending my first Bible study and would hang out before and after the service. I was beginning to heal and fall in love with God and church all over again.

When our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage shortly after Dave became teaching pastor, I asked my brother-in-law and some of his friends to take me to TNL. I needed to be there. When we got pregnant with Abigail, I asked Dave to share our news from the front because I wanted my church to share in our joy.

Now 10 years, 3 children and many added family members, I can tell you that my heart is healed. As I cried last night, I realized that I love TNL like I, as a mother, love my children...unconditionally and with my whole heart. I shared my love for TNL with our good friends from seminary days, Greg and Gretchen and Gretchen commented that she was so excited to hear and see how much I love TNL because "it took a long time to get here".

Thank you for being a place of healing and love. I know that anytime I walk back through those doors, I truely am accepted JUST AS I AM!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am not a hut person...and that's ok!

I find myself in coversations daily about going to Africa and there are always many questions. here are some of my favorites with my answers (actual answers and the ones I give because it's fun)!

- Are you taking your children with you?
* (sometimes I jokingly give this answer) No, I'm done with them-would you like them?
* Yes, we are taking our children. We are a family and have been appointed as missionaries

- How will you get your food?
* jokingly, sort-of: Dave will have to hunt for our food everyday and the rest we will buy from the market along the side of the road.
* There is a grocery store. Dave is not planning to hunt, however, the items in the store vary daily, as will as the hours they are open. we will probably buy produce along the side of the road and soak it in bleach/water.

-Bleach/water? Isn't that bad for you?
*Not as bad as getting a parasite! The bleach/water solution is a very specific ratio and you really don't taste it...very much!

- MY FAVORITE- Are you going to live in a hut?
* Dave and I are not hut people.
We will be in the capitol city in Mozambique and are planning to have a house. We might not have glass windows but that might be more practical in the long run. There are many missionaries, in many parts of the world and we feel that right now, God has called us to Maputo, Mozambique.

coversations with my kids

Since Abigail has started kindergarten, we spend many days in the car. Lately, we have been having some pretty deep conversations, all while driving. I just keep glancing in the mirror because I would love to see their faces as they ask questions and process the answer.

Abigail, age 5 1/2: "Mom, are there really people in the world who don't know about God?"
me: "yes, there are."
Abbs: "I HAVE to go tell them right now!"
(we have used this conversation many time when talking about what it's like to be a missionary)
me: "you can! That's why we are going to Africa; to help people and tell then about God."

Jake, age 4: having a conversation about the fact that we will look different than most everyone in Africa
me: "People might want to touch your skin and your hair."
Jake: after a long pause "Will it hurt?"

Alyson, age 2 1/2: anytime we talk about Africa, she will listen that pipe up and yell, "Jesus loves me, this I know!"
(It's comforting to know that she knows this!!)

Jake: (out-of-the-blue) "Mom, who lives in the sky and talks to us?"
me: "ummmmm.....God?" (honestly, my mind was on something else and I was trying to figure out where he was coming from!)
Jake: "YES MOM! You got it!! and who lives with Him?"
me: "Jesus?"
Jake: "YES MOM! You got it again! Did you know that Jesus lives in my heart and God is in a burning bush?"
me: "Tell me about it." (I know, cop-out answer but I was hoping he would elaborate!)
Jake: goes into great deal of the story of Moses and the burning bush and ends with, "Mom, don't forget about God's rules because that would be very bad!!" He says this with great enthusiasm and pointing his finger in the air as he emphasizes every word.

I have had conversations with many missionaries and they all say the same thing, "Your children are the perfect age to go!" They are right! They are young enough that everything is exciting and new. They ask questions but are ok knowing that life will be different and Abigail has told me time and time again that she just wants to get to Africa and start helping people. They are so proud God has also called them to be missionaries.

Monday, August 25, 2008

mixed emotions

i never really understood what people meant when they talked about feeling the highest of highs and the lowest of lows..at the same time...until Africa. Africa has become this place where i feel more at home, more energized and more broken that i have ever felt. there have not been a huge number of times in my life that i have heard God speak more clearly than times involving Africa. for the past two years, i have fought so hard against the idea of going and living in Africa. i have a wonderful family, an incredible church and the most amazing friends-why would i leave? why go now?
i am just as excited as i am sad to be going; more sad to leave the people i love than anything else. people have surprised me though. in the amount of encouragement and support that i have been shown what i have shared about Africa. i have been told that the excitement and passion i have for Africa is contagious and is very clear when i am asked about Africa.
at the end of the day, i want to do what God has called me to do. i am done fighting and am ready to go. God has called me and my family to do His work in Africa. this became clear to me when i visited Mozambique, Africa last November. i knew i would be coming back the moment i stepped off the plane in Maputo, Mozambique and felt like it was home.
when i stopped fighting with God to stay here and opened myself up to the possibility of moving; i felt a sense of purpose for my life. some might say "peace" but i felt a purpose to use everything i have done and learned in my life to help the Mozambiquan people. there are times when i feel pretty sad and overwhelmed at what i will need to do in the next year but then i see pictures of my trip or read our teammates blog of what is already happening and feel excited for the future. it is not everyday that God is so clear and so specific...i have to go and i have to go now!